With a new slogan, logo and marketing plan, Neligh's "Marketing Hometown America" has been deemed a success by those participating.
The program conducted during the fall of 2013 through Nebraska extension educator Anita Hall and extension specialist Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel was recently evaluated.
"Marketing Hometown America" participants met in small groups, led by locally trained facilitators. Each participant was given a community guide that provided background information, lists of discussion questions and activities. Each group will hold a series of meetings to draft a marketing plan and identify activities that they could do in the community to help make themselves more marketable.
Hall said the evaluation showed these key outcomes in Neligh - new involvement in the community from both new and long-term residents; increased communication, specifically online communication; discovering unknown assets; focusing on the positives of living in Neligh; creating the "This is My Neligh" videos; the new branding campaign; improved city website; improved communication between organizations; a welcome basket from the Neligh Chamber of Commerce; and study circle participants looking at Neligh from a new perspective.
Neligh was one of just two communities in the state - Kimball was the other - asked to participate in the Marketing Hometown American effort, which was a series of community conversations to help market the community.
The effort was funded by the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute and developed and delivered by UNL Extension. Rural communities in South Dakota and North Dakota were also a part of the program. Neligh's program was co-sponsored by the Neligh Economic Development and University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension.